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Microsoft Researcher: Microsoft Surface Will Be in Cost Effective, in Homes in Three Years

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 37 comments

Just three more year until we can all play Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer on Microsoft's Surface table top.

Microsoft's Surface has been teasing us for way too long. Every time we see the massive, touchscreen tabletop used in an innovative way, we want to know when we can expect the technology to hit the mainstream so we can have one for ourselves. According to Microsoft researcher Bill Buxton, we have three more years to wait.

In an interview with Canada's Globe and Mail, Buxton was asked about the 'next big thing' with regards to technology that's already available but not being exploited for the mainstream market. Buxton highlights the Surface, which he has been working on since 1992, and explains that even if the device were affordable for the every day tech fiend (it's really, really not in case you're wondering), the equipment needed for the Surface means it's just not suitable. Buxton goes on to say that the company is working on making the Surface more suitable for home use in terms of equipment.

"Right now it has five cameras in it and a projector and a bunch of other stuff. It’s just a lot. What will happen is that Surface will become no thicker than a sheet of glass," he told the Globe and Mail. "That will more or less be true. It’s not going to have any cameras or projectors because the cameras will be embedded in the device itself."

"The best way to think about it is like a big LCD where there’s a fourth pixel in every triad," he explains. "So there’s red, green, and blue pixels giving you light, and a fourth pixel which is a sensor that will capture stuff; go the other direction."

Buxton says he believes that they'll see this technology in living rooms in about three years with "really cost effective prices" to boot.

Check out the full interview here.

Source: Globe and Mail via Engadget

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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    hoofhearted , September 15, 2010 12:05 AM
    Apple will beat them with the iCoffeeTable (next size up from the iPad)
  • 12 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , September 14, 2010 11:46 PM
    What's with the bad grammar?
  • 11 Hide
    failboat , September 15, 2010 1:29 AM
    All I need is a $3000 coffee table for my friends to spill beer on.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , September 14, 2010 11:46 PM
    What's with the bad grammar?
  • 1 Hide
    willgart , September 14, 2010 11:50 PM
    the current surface use a camera for the touch screen interaction + projector.
    The camera is also able to scan what you put on the screen, like a barcode under a book, a glass etc... its how the system is able to know the wine in your bottle...
    also this camera can do real scan (scanning a paper)

    why they speak about LCD? this is not compatible with this technology and interactivity.
    with an LCD it will be a standard touchscreen system like we have today in tablet pc.
  • 1 Hide
    braneman , September 14, 2010 11:53 PM
    if its cheap and works well enough might just use it for board games/warhammer.
  • 15 Hide
    hoofhearted , September 15, 2010 12:05 AM
    Apple will beat them with the iCoffeeTable (next size up from the iPad)
  • 0 Hide
    thechief73 , September 15, 2010 12:09 AM
    Neat concept, but we have already seen homebrew and expensive novelty variations before. And there are still many concerns for this kind of device; What if you have kids(doesn't need explaining), scratches, spilling things on it, running a power cord across the room. Cool idea with few kinks.

    [Edit] Ok, who is the tool going around giving everyone thumbs down? Seriously, get over yourself.
  • 3 Hide
    chess , September 15, 2010 12:14 AM
    This reminds me of Star Trek lol, can't wait!
  • -3 Hide
    sabot00 , September 15, 2010 12:20 AM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ohNzHWL7FI
  • 11 Hide
    failboat , September 15, 2010 1:29 AM
    All I need is a $3000 coffee table for my friends to spill beer on.
  • -3 Hide
    jimmysmitty , September 15, 2010 1:38 AM
    hoofheartedApple will beat them with the iCoffeeTable (next size up from the iPad)


    Except Microsoft already has it out and ready for businesses. This is just for consumers like you and me.

    And of course Apple will try to beat S to it then claim its 'innovative' when they will just copy the idea and throw OSX something on it.

    More than likely it will be a glorified giant sized iPad.
  • 2 Hide
    TheDuke , September 15, 2010 1:53 AM
    jimmysmittyExcept Microsoft already has it out and ready for businesses. This is just for consumers like you and me.And of course Apple will try to beat S to it then claim its 'innovative' when they will just copy the idea and throw OSX something on it.More than likely it will be a glorified giant sized iPad.


    Apple may be late but they'll market it as revolutionary and get all the mainstream credit
  • -1 Hide
    haunted one , September 15, 2010 2:13 AM
    Working on it since 1992? That's over two decades if it's releasing in three years!
  • 1 Hide
    gmarsack , September 15, 2010 2:21 AM
    Hey Guys, want to see a really awesome use of the Surface? Check out this video of the board game The Settlers of Catan for the Surface created by Vectorform, the company I work for.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdUFT01vzyI
  • 4 Hide
    tuch92 , September 15, 2010 3:07 AM
    jimmysmitty"it will be a glorified giant sized iPad."


    Sounds like a girl's worst fear. :p 
  • -2 Hide
    f-14 , September 15, 2010 3:44 AM
    i want to see the pentagon version of this, i can already see the generals dancing on thier tippy toes, lol

    redflag exercise
    army general: my ranger battallion just took out a marine armor division tee hee
    navy admiral and marine general: ha we just took over your army bas.....HEY WHO DID THAT!?
    air force general tittering quietly off to the side:
    ALL UR BASE IS MINE!
    navy admiral, army and marine general:*#$$#%&* no fair you can't tactically nuke everybody using predators!#@$$^%
  • -1 Hide
    xerroz , September 15, 2010 4:10 AM
    I'd love to have one of these in my living room, its so neat. Its by MS so it wont be so expensive...ofc you will pay 5 times for an apple one with less hardware and quality than an MS one
  • 0 Hide
    theoutbound , September 15, 2010 4:14 AM
    I love the interactivity element of the Surface. The ability for it to recognize objects and ... aw screw it, I want it for Starcraft.
  • 0 Hide
    toastninja17 , September 15, 2010 4:43 AM
    Absolutely cannot wait. I just hope all the technology will work in tandem smoohtly. Ever since I heard about this and saw it, I've wanted one. I've got so many great places to put it. It it'll be the way I want it to be, it could be the central media hub for my parents and I. Post and upload photos and videos, go online, email and the like.

    And as far as anything by Apple goes...I'm with jimmysmitty. Microsoft is ahead of the game with a working product that has only been available for enterprises and industry type things...but at least they have a solid foundation with the technology, now they just need to make it consumer-friendly, for both price and function.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , September 15, 2010 4:59 AM
    easy to say - but the price will be expensive.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 15, 2010 6:54 AM
    I already used one of these, last time was in a casino in Vegas where they were tables in the bar at Rio. After using it for about 30 mins I can easily see one being a coffee table in my living room.
  • 0 Hide
    eusebe , September 15, 2010 7:05 AM
    I can see it mounted on a wall (in the kitchen?) so that you can leave messages if needed, you can use it for surfing the net for recepies, and that you can use it as a movie/picture display...
    Now... when they say it will be "cost effective"... I hope it's not for people earning 3times what I earn in a month...
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